ARTLURKER

A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

W.A.D.Pocalypse?

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Via Amputee-coalition.org

Is Wynwood Arts District’s Second Saturday Art Walk heading for a drastic rapturous end? Can we imagine a time in the near future when the surviving galleries will open their doors on any night of the month dictated by factors other than warm bodies?  Given the recent vacuous vagaries of crowd fueled cultural carousing, we think yes.  Is it really important to honor this recent tradition?

Forcing the illusion of a thriving cultural scene on false grounds may be akin to financing a Hummer, McMansion and jetski combo on unemployment.  What would be nice is a departure from rushed, tacked up glitz towards something more drab and even unsuccessful looking.  Perhaps a sparsely attended reception on a rainy Thursday sometime towards the end of a working class paycheck would whet the creative appetite more adequately.

ARTLURKER’s ears were pricked by grumblings overheard this past Saturday to the effect that Gallerists and Artists are tired of providing a free night out (with drinks) for roving bands of expressway jetsam.  The next logical conclusion would be that the benefit to cost value balance of second Saturday openings is dangerously close to a tipping point.

But who cares what we think? We’d like to invite comments on this subject.

This post was contributed by Thomas Hollingworth.

8 Comments

  • I was there

    Cut the free booze and the gallery walk may redeem itself. It was obvious a year ago that it was merely a free booze buzz before a night of clubbing for the GenPop.
    The “art” was a mere back drop for the booze cruise.

  • admin

    That seems like a small part of what has become a larger issue. Nowadays art walk’s biggest enemy is a lack of money, not just revelers that get drunk at sponsored bars. Art walk has always been a community event, that is the attraction, however, what has changed drastically is not the quantity of alcohol, but rather the willingness of venues to work for little or no return. Most galleries focus on sales during their openings, but today galleries are struggling to make sales – especially galleries in Miami on art walk night – and yet their clocks, at least for the time being, still revolve around second Saturday. But these are powerless times. How long before venues simply can’t afford to pander to people who have no intention of buying work?

  • Chad

    Honestly, when money starts to flow everything becomes a little diluted. You said it, “most galleries focus on sales during their openings” and not focusing on exhibiting work that is mind blowing and risky. I can only hope that after failed attempts with work that does not sell, gallerists will have no choice but to try something new. I am ready for it. Maybe a little DIY attitude from the 90′s would help, such as the galleries making their own unique moonshine.

  • sara stites

    I think changing the night would help so that a gallery opening is a unique event. Also, what about opening studios to see works in progress/ works not deemed salable – and I mean drawings and paintings too, not just the obvious……..

  • I was there

    I doubt most sales were conducted on second Saturdays, as most gallery sales are conducted behind closed doors after a drawn out and elaborate ritual between the gallerist and collector. (Similar to an insect courting ritual)
    The general population was not out shopping for a new Hernan Bas painting for their Kendall living room wall. Yet, the collectors do go out on second Saturdays and I hope the galleries remain open.
    Sales Happen.

  • By-Standard

    Most Galleries have complained about the “riff-raff” that approaches their doors the nights of second saturdays.
    Those who despise the late party goers have now decided the earlier the better, close the doors.
    I look forward to when galleries open on off nights, this will give true patrons the opportunity to realize how few people actually care, and how many are for the booze. Its a double headed sword, new night no one shows up, same ‘ol night and nobody’s show up. Where is the balance? As far as sales, seems galleries concentrate on Fairs, Regular (every week) Collectors that wanna “hang out”, and Museums? (yeah right).

  • Larissa

    I’ve gone to many Second Saturdays and it’s something I have enjoyed. But I enjoy the booze, too. Is that so wrong? But I would go whether it was provided or not. The thing is, I don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on an art piece. If I did, my apartment walls would be adorned with paintings. So, if Second Saturdays bring in the ‘common man’/the riff raff, why not then sell artwork that is affordable to the common man? Why not sell prints? That would at least pay for the cost of having the gallery open that night and for the cheap booze that is provided for. I have seen artwork that, if I had the money to purchase, I would. Beyond that, like some else commented, whatever happended to promoting work because it is thought provoking and risky?

  • Barbryan

    Coming from someone who has worked at various galleries in Wynwood for three years the situation of Second Saturday’s is a complicated one. In one sense we love second saturdays whether there are sales or not, we do put a lot of hard work into the shows that we put up and if we relied on the people that come in between gallery walks no on would ever see the work. I can count on my fingers and toes that amount of people who have come to the gallery during the week over the last two months. On the other hand I can tell you that I can also count the number of sales we have ever made during gallery walk on one hand. We would love to serve a ton of booze and have a great party and have everybody come in and enjoy the work but when there are no sales it becomes harder and harder to justify the expense. We never have to ask ourselves the question of whether we should show thought provoking work or saleable work, we know that either way its going to be very difficult to sell anything at all. The idea of having another night to be open sounds great but getting people to Wynwood is tremendously difficult, people only feel safe is there is another 1000 people walking around with them. And just as a side note I think it is safe to say that the majority of people coming to art walk have what I consider a very modest interest on what is hanging on the wall and I can tell you this by the two questions I get the most during gallery walks 1. Who is the artist? (when there is clearly a group showing with completely different looking pieces and a mix of photographs and paintings and sculpture) 2. Where is the bathroom?

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W.A.D.Pocalypse?